Uganda holds final rallies ahead of tomorrow’s polls

Uganda's presidential candidates: Abed Bwanika (left), Amama Mbabazi, Benon Biraro, Joseph Mabirizi, Kizza Besigye, Maureen Kyalya and Venansius Baryamureeba at the first ever Ugandan presidential debate in Kampala in January PHOTO: AFP/ISAAC KASAMANI
Uganda’s presidential candidates: Abed Bwanika (left), Amama Mbabazi, Benon Biraro, Joseph Mabirizi, Kizza Besigye, Maureen Kyalya and Venansius Baryamureeba at the first ever Ugandan presidential debate in Kampala in January PHOTO: AFP/ISAAC KASAMANI

UGANDA’S presidential contenders have held their final rallies, a day after opposition supporters clashed with police leaving at least one dead.

The main opposition candidate, Kizza Besigye, who was briefly detained twice by police on Monday, said he was confident of ending President Yoweri Museveni’s three-decade rule of the East African nation.

“The election cannot be free or fair, but it doesn’t mean it can’t be won,” Besigye told the AFP news agency, saying he was still aiming for an “outright win”, not a second round run-off in which the opposition might unify.

At least one person was killed on Monday as police fought running battles with Besigye supporters from the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) party.

“We believe we can win the un-free and an unfair election, that’s what we are trying to do,” Besigye said, before zooming off towards the city centre accompanied by some 300 supporters to hold rallies.

Many were riding motorbikes, waving tree branches and blowing whistles and horns, and wearing shirts with Besigye’s face emblazoned on the front.

“If rigged, as we expect, we will continue the struggle for democracy,” Besigye said. “The struggle will simply continue.”

Museveni is widely predicted to win a fifth term in power in tomorrow’s polls.

Both Museveni and the other main candidate, Amama Mbabazi, a former prime minister and ruling party stalwart now running as an independent, were also holding rallies on Tuesday.

Al Jazeera’s reporting from the capital, Kampala, said candidates had held several rallies in the hope of persuading undecided un-voters.

“Campaigning has to end today. The opposition leaders are appealing to the many unemployed and the under-employed in urban areas in their final messages,” it said. “This is the final push. Today’s rallies passed without the kind of violence we saw yesterday.”

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